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How has the outdoors positively impacted your mental health?

While many topics here in the community focus on gear, places, and learning, there are also a lot of feelings shared within your questions and stories. In the Co-op Journal series The Nature Fix by Florence Williams, topics such as the awe of the night sky and how we're hard-wired for adventure share some insight on how the outdoors can deeply impact our lives.

Recently, we've seen conversations here in the community on why we get outdoors, gear we hold dear, and even singing on bike rides, which have shared a glimpse of how these activities make us feel. Knowing that, we'd love to hear more:

How has the outdoors positively impacted your mental health?

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At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
13 Replies

Fresh air and clean water mean a lot, too.  A healthy environmental ecology and healthy personal biology also mean a lot.  Cognitive and intellectual health have much response to these aspects of physiological health.  Personally and individually though, my interpersonal relationships are that nonhuman lives have been my better friends.  For instance, as a solo hiker, some elk got me out of a lightning storm in a distal part of Grand Canyon in time to miss striking.  Humans usually have not been that trustworthy or reliable in attunement.  I'm not saying I'm better, either, but there are minor benefits from being a smoker in California, like ensuring time outdoors regularly.

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Several "Old-World" European cultures had miklenia-long cultural strategy for personal attunement to the natural ecological environ.  Rare for those practice to remain in situ.  Also rare for those practice to be maintained ver batim in melting pot cultures.  Many people have adaptive practice, but, again, it is not the same.  ...Regardless, I wanted to assert that, in my life experience I have come to know, (a) few old-world cultures have had life attunement practices, and that some oddities may not be a psychosis when coupled with catastrophe.  Additionally wishing to assert, not all catastrophic occurrence is nature-derived. (with a penny-farth-um-ing thought toward an ad.hoc Ad.infinitum of a reverberation conundrum spectrum). 

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Natural settings have always benefited me, especially when stressed.  Vigorous exercise also helps, especially when accompanied with the attainment of a goal, like a summit.

Doing volunteer search and rescue, i found even routine operations were rewarding.  Even more so were operations where you truly made a difference' then you got an emotional life that lasted for days - almost addicting, really...

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

After my divorce and becoming a single mom, my mental health really took a turn for the worse. When my son was old enough to go in a kid carrier backpack, we immersed ourselves in nature every chance we got. It really helped to heal my heart and as two bonuses: started his love for the outdoors and adventures as well as  increased our bond as mother and son.